Dir.: Steve Brown, Timothy Wheeler; Documentary with Barry C. Barish, Kip Thorne, Rainer Weiss; USA 2019, 82 min.
In this user-friendly film Steve Brown and Timothy Wheeler celebrate the hundredth anniversary of Albert Einstein’s theory of gravity by probing deeper to challenge his long-held notion, and explore what actually constitutes gravity’s invisible ‘dark matter’.
With the help of a scientist, and no less than three Nobel Prize winners of Physics, they conclude it may take fifteen years before Einstein is proved right or wrong. Four institutions lead the research in to one of the greatest open questions about our universe: the largest particle accelerator LHC at CERN, the largest underground labs (XENON), the largest telescope arrays, and the LIGO gravitational wave detector. Satellites are also being employed to create a 3D map of the universe. And research is taking place on a global scale to prove if Einstein’s theory stands the test of time. In Leiden (Netherlands) Laura Baudis and Margaret Bower are in contact with Columbia University, another institute participating in the project. We watch scientists conducting field trips, the Atlas experiment and the Xenonit, an ‘unblinding’ instrument. Finally we see Rainer Weiss, Barry C. Barish and Kip S. Thorne receive the Nobel Prize for Physics in Stockholm in 2017.
It was Einstein himself who originally stated, “if a theory is not understood by a six-year old, it is not clear enough”, because “the eternal mystery of the universe lies in its comprehensibility”. When you consider this, the whole thing is pretty mind-boggling. But there is hope, as one of the scientists remarked: “if your idea doesn’t sound crazy to begin with, there is no hope for it”.
So we must continue to wait with baited breath for the overall outcome. It may well emerge that we live in a totally different universe than the one we imagined.
CHASING EINSTEIN will have its CPH:DOX premiere on Saturday March 23 and a UK Premiere on Sunday 19th May, 1pm at Stratford Picturehouse